Microsoft has reached an agreement with Chinese phone manufacturer Xiaomi to put Skype and Office on to the firm’s Android smartphones that are sold in countries including China and India.
The move comes just a week after Microsoft threw in the towel in the mobile market after the Windows Mobile platform failed to excite buyers.
However, by having its core mobile software offerings on Android devices, the company can retain a presence in this space and ensure that the new generation of mobile-first device users are still embedded in the Microsoft ecosystem.
Xiaomi Android devices such as the Mi 5, Mi Max, Mi 4s, Redmi Note 3 (pictured above) and Redmi 3 will come pre-installed with Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook and Skype applications from September.
Peggy Johnson, executive vice president of business development at Microsoft, explained that the deal is a boost for both firms.
“People want their favourite apps and experiences to work seamlessly on the device of their choice, and that’s exactly what this partnership offers,” she said.
“Together with Xiaomi, we are bringing the very best in mobile productivity to millions more customers in China and around the world.”
Xiang Wang, senior vice president at Xiaomi, added that working with Microsoft in this way will help the firm continue its growth and target new markets.
“We are excited to be working closely with Microsoft on a broad technology collaboration partnership,” he said.
“As demonstrated by this agreement with Microsoft, Xiaomi is looking to build sustainable, long-term partnerships with global technology leaders, with the ultimate goal of bringing the best user experience to our Mi fans.”
The new collaboration also includes a cross-licence and patent transfer agreement that could enable Xiaomi to boost the features of its range of phones by using some of Microsoft's technology.
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